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Add some elevation and shoot more birds

I've hunted both Dakotas, Kansas and Nebraska numerous times. In each state, someone claims it is so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days. Stand on a tuna can they say, and you can watch him run away for a week.

Legal or otherwise, I'd be the last to suggest you get high while hunting. Figuratively speaking, that is. But literally raising your altitude a foot or two might just put an extra bird in your vest. If you can see your dog more often you'll have a few extra seconds to get yourself ready for a safe, straight shot.

Brush, rocks, and folds in terrain certainly obscure your dog's view of you. As bushes get taller and gullies deeper, they also block your view of him. All the waving tails and eager dog behaviors in the world won't help if your dog is invisible to you, hidden by brambles or boulders. Even on a good day, my dogs blend into the vegetation and are virtually invisible, so when I can't find my guys, I climb. Not a lot, but enough to revise the geometry in my favor.

If your dog is trailing a ringneck in a creek bed, get on the lip of the drop-off. When he's snuffling quail along the bottom of a draw, sidehill a few feet up the slope. I've scrambled up railroad grades, sauntered along abandoned dirt roads, and once found my dog on point while squinting from a footbridge.

In rice country, the dikes may not be tall, but they are tall enough once the crop is harvested. Irrigation canal levees are convenient elevators when your dog is muddling around in the head-high crops alongside them. And if you're "conserving energy" (read: lazy) get to the bottom of the draw while your dog works the slopes.

No topography to raise your dog-consciousness? Find a convenient stump, rock or log. Just remember to open or unload your gun in case your elevation is suddenly altered in a gravity-induced downward direction.

And when all else fails, imitate the Springer Spaniel. A careful, gun-less jump gains you a foot or two of visibility, even if you're a white man. It beats carrying a tuna can.

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